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point of the human race, in revolt against the rule | the judgment of the division of tongues, are now of Jehovah. It was to preserve the unity of man- gathered to His allegiance, in the gospel of His kind, in confederacy against his Creator, and in grace. The heralds of glad tidings are sent forth to defiance of His power of judgment, though the proclaim its message to each listening ear, in the tradition of the Flood was yet fresh in the world's tongue wherein they were born. Though there were recollection. It was to be a centre of man's habi- here diversities of tongues, yet was it “the same tation : not a city of God for God's habitation. Spirit, the same God which worketh all in all." Its top was to reach unto heaven, whether in proud Thus out of diversity God hath wrought unity. defiance of the Most High, reared up in sight of His There are a thousand tongues, and yet all are compalace gates, or in the vain attempt to scale the prehended within one Church of the living God : heights of heaven, by the might of man's unaided and with one heart and voice confess “one Lord, will, without acknowledging the hand of God. But one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all.” see the ease, the speed, with which God confounds And thus, in the Divine hands, has the very curse this daring design. He has but to speak the word, become the channel of blessing. and man is scattered to the four quarters of the No Scripture sets in more striking contrast the globe, in fulfilment of his appointed destiny ; and will of unregenerate man and the work of the Holy the monument of his might, the pride of his impious Spirit of God, than that which records the building will, is laid in ruins. So will it be again in the of Babel. It was built (we have seen) to band man end of time, when the world will be once more in together against God, and to deify his proud will. open revolt against the sovereignty of its Maker, The work of the Spirit is to gather mankind around and the spirit of rebellion will come to a head in God in Christ, as the centre of worship: to bring the person and reign of Antichrist. As on this them within the Church of Christ, which is the city occasion God crushed man's rebellious will by the of the living God, never more to be scattered again. word of His mouth, so will He then with the breath The tower of Babel, the top of which was designed of His lips destroy that wicked one, and take ven- to reach unto Heaven, had its origin in a basis of geance on His adversaries. “ Thou shalt dash them man's creation, and was reared upward from the in pieces as a potter's vessel,”—prophetic of ruin ground by man's effort, in contempt of God's power, instantaneous, complete, and irretrievable. The and in defiance of His will. The Church of Christ, confusion of tongues was here designed as a curse : which is the city of the Spirit's building, has its it was a token of the Divine wrath visited upon foundations laid in Heaven. Silently, without the man's daring combination against the sovereignty of noise of man's handiwork, and the confusion of his Maker. Hitherto Earth, like Heaven, bad but Earth's Babel-tongues,-silently, and slowly, yet one language : now Earth's tongues are divided, surely, this glorious city is being reared, day by day, that man's rebel concert against the power of Jeho- by the Master-Builder's hands, to be the dwellingvah may be broken. Yet it is the province of God place of Jehovah : designed and completed, not for to bring good out of seeming evil. The curse is the praises of man, but for the glory of God. employed in the furtherance of His grand design Whom (Christ) ye are builded together for an habifor the regeneration of a sinning world, and we tation of God through the Spirit." shall see how He presently makes use of it for the And see the marvellous unity (a unity traced in declaration of His goodwill to man.
diversity) which distinguished the early Church of For here, on the day of Pentecost, we see God Christ. It was the beautiful characteristic of that coming, in the Dispensation of the Spirit, and the day of rich Gospel blessing. They were all gathered gospel of grace, to show His power to man.
with one accord in one place,”—not had displayed his power, in opposition to the King- Babel, the centre of man's rebellious will, but Jerudom of God, and it issued in the bringing in of a salem, the city of God. Hither, to the City of the God now
comes down to manifest His Great King were drawn men “of every nation under power,—not in the immediate removal of the curse, heaven," a grand representation of the tribes of but (what is infinitely more glorious), in converting earth, summoned by the Great Head of the Church, the curse into a minister of blessing. He comes to to take part in the inauguration of the Spirit's heil the curse. The nations that were scattered in reign ; surely in deep and prophetic signifcance of
the time when the nations of the redeemed world Christian voices, and consecrated hearts, never absoshall be gathered into the true city of God, the New lutely faultless : beautiful as it may at times appear Jerusalem on high. And the new life which the to us, under the guiding inspiration of the Spirit of Spirit breathed within these first-fruits unto God God, some strain of imperfection will strike upon and the Lamb was marked by a two-fold bond of the heavenly ear. Heaven has but one language : grace; one unseen, resting upon the heart; the that not alone with one heart and one mind, but other, visibly encircling the life. There was the with one voice, grand and majestic as the voice of incard bond of the unity of the Spirit, every heart many waters, its citizens may sing the glories of instinct with the same Divine life, and inspired their King. Yes, God has a glorious ending to bring with the same love of the Crucified. And there out of man's discord and rebellion, in the consumwas the outward bond of Christian unity : first seen mation of all things. He makes the wrath of man in the profession of the faith of Christ, and then in to praise Him, and minister to His glory. Once, the daily practice of holy and Christ-like lives. All at Babel, He gave divided tongues as a sign of were baptised into Christ, planted together with judgment : at Pentecost, He changed the curse into Him, and with each other, in the likeness of His a blessing, and made it the channel through which death and of His resurrection. “And the multitude the full tide of redeeming love should overflow of them that believed were of one heart and of one earth's desert places : and here, in the day of soul ; neither said any of them that ought of the meridian blessing, we see the last trace of the curse things that he possessed was his own ; but they had disappear, and a redeemed creation with one tongue all things common." The golden chain of love of praise, one voice of adoration, gathered around linked heart to heart—with one mind and one mouth the Lamb in glory. they glorified God, as fellow-members of the body And here we behold the true city of God-the of Christ, and fellow-citizens of His kingdom of city whose Maker and Builder is God, and not man glory. Thus holy living and holy loving kept for --the city, whose walls are built, not of the goodly long this spiritual bond of union unbroken. They marble, or imperishable granite, but of living stones, “kept the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” in the midst of which the living God has come to
Yet one more scene is wanting to complete the dwell. Not reaching from earth to heaven, as man picture of God's dealings with redeemed man. The in the pride of his heart would have designed it, but interest heightens, the glory becomes grander, and coming down from heaven to earth, in perfected more sublime, as the final manifestation of the beauty and symmetry, in that bright day when grace of God is reached. This time the scene is heaven and earth are united in one holy and eternal laid, not on Earth, but in Heaven. In Rev. vii, we bond. And here, too, in that revelation of the last behold - multitude which no man could number, days, we behold how the building of man's creation of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, is destroyed. Babylon, the spiritual Babel, in standing before the throne, and before the Lamb." which we cannot fail to recognise the apostate
” The Cross has triumphed, not less in the healing of Church of Rome—which claims to be the Holy the curse than in the breaking of the powers of evil. Catholic Church, the centre of God's worship in the These white-robed singers have all learnt the lan-world—which pretends to have but one language guage of the skies : Heaven has no dialect, that all, (in her services), and that, not a living language, with one voice, in sweet and solemn unison, may but a dead tongue-which dares to set up a man take part in its songs of praise. There is no longer upon the throne of God-Babylon is fallen, is fallen. unity in diversity: that is a necessary condition of But the city of God is eternal. It hath its foundathis earthly life, permitted, and sometimes used by tions laid in heaven. It belongs to a kingdom God, in the dispensation of the Spirit's grace. But which cannot be moved. No confusion of tongues it can have no place in glory : there is unity com- prevails within its walls. It has but one voice, one plete, and changeless, in the life of heaven, which is song, one theme of endless praise—the glory of the the life of God. Earth has many languages : and Lamb. How much more glorious is God's design God can bring sweet harmonies out of its Babel-than that of man's creation ? Man's design ends in tones, when, like a harp of many strings, they have confusion and the curse;. God's plan issues in been tuned to His praise. Yet is the symphony of greater blessing, and the brighter manifestation of
His own glory. Man's design is wrought out in his things of the world to confound the things that are strength, in proud independence of the will of his mighty.” Often it is through men of stammering Maker; God works out and completes the Divine lips and another tongue, that God speaks with purposes of His will, in the power of the Holy greatest power to the hearts of the people, “ that no Ghost. Man's ambition is to make himself an flesh should glory in His presence." Yet how often enduring name in the carth; God's design is to does the plea of incapacity (with its veiled spirit of glorify His Son Jesus in a regenerated world, as He unbelief) rise to our lips : and we fail to realise is now glorified in the highest heaven, “ that at the how out of our very weakness God can make us name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in strong, and give power to His children to slay the heaven, and things in earth ; . . . and that every giants of sin and evil. When Jeremiah was called tongue should confess that He is Lord, to the glory to the prophetic office, He began to plead, " Ah, of God the Father.”
Lord God! behold I cannot speak; for I am a How much grander was this second Pentecost at child. But the Lord said unto him, Say not I am Jerusalem, the city of God, than the first Pentecost a child : for thou shalt go to all that I shall send which Israel celebrated at the foot of the wilderness thee, and whatsoever I command thee thou shalt mount ! When God came down on Mount Sinai, speak. ... Then the Lord put forth His hand, and to proclaim that Holy Law, which reveals man's touched his mouth. And the Lord said unto him, weakness and his guilt, He spake in one tongue, a Behold I have put my words in thy mouth.” So voice so terrible in its majesty that at the sound does He still put His word in the mouth of Israel fled dismayed. But when God came down babes in spiritual understanding : thus “ ordaining upon Mount Sion, to reveal to man His power and strength;" in a way so marvellous, so far beyond the love, He spake in many tongues, that the whole ordinary power of Nature, as to “set His glory world might share in the riches of His grace. If the above the heavens." Yea, have ye never read, dispensation of the Law, written and engraven in Out of the mouths of babes and sucklings, Thou stones was glorious, how much more excellent the hast perfected praise ?" dispensation of the Spirit, written on the fleshy What we need is a "mouth and wisdom,"—the tables of man's heart, and inspiring ten thousand need of Apostolic times, which the risen Jesus suptongues to tell of the Redeemer's praise !
plied and satisfied by sending down upon His people God give unto each of us the tongue of fire, to His Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit speak with power and zeal of His glory. Ah ! how of counsel and might. And this is the great need strangely we shrink from this, the highest privilege of the Church of Christ, in every age. Not the of redeemed man! How often, when some golden splendid gift of tongues,—that brilliant manifestaopportunity is given of speaking to the glory of God, tion of the Spirit's power passed away with the are our tongues chained in guilty silence! We halt Apostolic age, and the firm establishment of the before some open door of blessing, and the door is Church of Christ in the world. Not the gift of closed, and the blessing lost, because of our fainting tongues, but grace, the Spirit's grace, to speak to hearts, and faltering lips. When God has honoured others in our own tongue, wherein we were born, us by making choice of us to bear the message of the wonderful work which God hath wrought His will, too often we plead to be excused; we pray within our
We want the baptism Him to speak by the mouth of some more fitting of the Spirit. We want His baptism of fire upon ambassador. Like Moses, we plead, "O my Lord, our heads and within our hearts, that we may be I am not eloquent, . . I am slow of speech, and of filled with wisdom to know Jesus, “Whom to a slow tongue, .. send, I pray Thee, by the hand know is life eternal,” and with love and power to of him whom Thou wilt send.” And we forget glorify His name. When the Spirit has touched us that He who gave the command to speak, is He touched heart and lips-with the living coal of who made man's mouth, and can give power to the His heavenly inspiration, we shall receive the tongue weakest and humblest messenger to minister to His of praise, we shall be ready and prepared to speak glory, "in vile things noble breath infusing.” “God to the glory of God, and of “Jesus Christ, whom hath chosen the foolish things of the word to con- He hath sent.” O should we not then pray more found the wise ; and God hath chosen the weak earnestly for this manifestation of the Spirit's power,
that He may testify to our cold hearts of Jesus, and the enjoyment of Christ ; but no merchant ever our hearts will so burn within us, our lips will be coveted, nor sought more eagerly to win, an increase inspired with such glowing zeal, that we can no longer of wealth, than he did the increased enjoyment of keep silence from telling of His praise ! O God the Christ. It was a large measure of the enjoyment of Holy Ghost, open Thou our lips, and our mouth God which led David to cry, “ As the hart panteth shall show forth the praise of Jesus! And thus after the water-brooks, so panteth my soul after shall we be fitting, in heart and voice, to take our Thee, O God. My soul thirsteth for God, even for part in that sublimest anthem of united praise, that the living God. When shall I come and appear is for ever pealing through the courts of the heavenly before God!" temple, raised by ten thousand times ten thousand
PAUL'S DESIRE WAS DEFINITE. once-divided tongues :-“Worthy is the Lamb that It was that he might know Christ and the power was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, of His resurrection. A gentleman conversing with and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing.” a Hebrew scholar, enquired how long he had been
acquiring his knowledge of the language. The THE POWER OF CHRIST'S RESURRECTION. scholar replied, “I have been reading Hebrew for (PAIL. III. 10, 11.)
twelve years, and now I mean to begin to study
it.” Paul had been learning Christ from the day As regards fleshly standing, few men had ever
Christ had revealed Himself to him near Damascus more to glory in than the Apostle Paul. He might and still his desire was to know Him. Christ will well say, “If any man thinketh that he hath be the everlasting study of His people. The works whereof to trust in the flesh, I more : circumcised of God are limited, yet who has mastered all the the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of physical sciences? Christ, in His holiness and grace, Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching is infinite, and it will take eternity to know Him. the law, a Pharisee; concerning zeal, persecuting But Paul especially wished to know Christ in the the church ; touching the righteousness which is in power of His resurrection. He desired to experience the law, blameless."
in his soul, to the utmost of his capacity, that A thousand glow-worms form a beautiful and power which quickened the body of Jesus when it attractive sight in the darkness ; but when the sun lay in the tomb of Joseph, and gave it a life over arises, they lose their beauty and become repulsive, which death can never assert dominion. like other worms. When aged trees have been cut When by the Holy Spirit we know the purpose down, we see, in the night, a most beautiful illumi- of God in Christ's resurrection we are justified from nation. Children gather up the shining gems and all sin. In Rom. iv. 25, we read, Christ was decarry home their fancied treasure ; but when the livered up for our offences, but was raised again for light of day shines upon it, they find themselves in our justification. When He died our debt was paid. possession of decayed chips. What they saw and For all our sin His death atoned. What then was admired was phosphorescence from rottenness. It the meaning of His entrance into the tomb? It was was thus with Paul. In the darkness of his natural His rest from His labour, His repose after His vicstate, his legal righteousness shone in his eyes with tory. But it carries us back to the first creation, a divine lustre. He thought it a treasure which he and the first creation was a foreshadowing of it. was to carry to the judgment-seat, and which would After the six days' work of creation the Lord rested enrich him to eternity. But when the Sun of on the seventh day and hallowed it: after the work Righteousness arose upon him what things had of redemption Jesus rests the same day-rests in the been gain to him he counted loss. In that light he grave. His creation-rest was the type of His recounted all things but loss for the excellency of the demption-rest. To this typical signification of the knowledge of Christ Jesus, his Lord.
seventh day Paul seems to refer when he says to the Paul renounced all his fleshly standing "that he Colossians, “Let no man judge you in eating or might win Christ.” It may be asked, Was not drinking, or in respect of a feast-day, or of the new Christ his at the time he wrote to the Philippians ? moon, or of Sabbath days, which are a shadow of True; but may not a rich merchant be found still things to coine, but the body is of Christ" (Col. seeking money?
Paul was rich in grace-rich in ii. 16, 17). The resurrection of Christ from the
dead was the seal of God on His redeeming work. therein ? Know ye not, that so many of us as were He was raised because His atonement for our sin baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into His was accepted. Christ is in heaven accepted of God death? Therefore, we are buried with Him by for all who believe in the satisfaction made for their baptism into death ; that like as Christ was raised sin. Because He is our atonement He is our up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even righteousness also. ** He was made sin for us, who so we also should walk in newness of life.” What knew no sin, that we might become the righteous- is this “ newness of life"? It is the resurrection ness of God in Him.” In His righteousness every life of the Lord Jesus. Hence, the coinmand, believer stands before God. If we do not know our “Reckon yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but perfect justification before God it is because we do alive unto God, through Jesus Christ our Lord.” not know the power of Christ's resurrection. This is the power of Christ's resurrection operating
“ know that our old man was crulTHE POWER OF CHRIST'S RESURRECTION IS ETHICAL.
“If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those cified with Him that the body of sin might be desthings which are above, where Christ sitteth on the troyed (or made void), that henceforth we should
not serve sin.” It is with us spiritually as it is right hand of God. Set your affection on things
; above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, naturally; develop life, and you have strength in and your life is hid with Christ in God. When proportion. Our strength has not its seat in our
bones and muscles. These are the instruments it Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye
but its seat is in our vital power. Vital also appear with Him in glory” (Col. iii. 1-4).
The amount of our In Christ our surety we have died representatively. power is physical power. But we are also dead in another sense : “ If Christ spiritual life is the amount of our spiritual power.
Spiritual power is working power.
Again, the be in you the body is dead because of sin.” The
amount of our spiritual power is the amount of our body must die and be raised, or if it be alive at the
health. While the vital power is strong in us, the appearing of the Lord Jesus it must be changed. seeds of disease, which lie dormant in the body, Our present state is one of temporary sojourn ; our cannot germinate. And while disease is suppressed eternal state is at hand. True wisdom teaches us to
within, contagion is resisted without. set our affection on those heavenly objects with
The Lord Jesus came that we might have life, which we shall be conversant for ever.
and that we might have it more abundantly. To Paul had so entered into the power of Christ's
know the power of His resurrection is to possess resurrection that it regulated and decided his judg. His resurrection life ; and as we become possessed ments concerning all present things. He knew men
of it, we become strong to labour and to suffer for only as they are seen in Christ, and shall form a
His name. part of that new creation which shall be manifested with Him in resurrection glory. Henceforth," THE RESURRECTION LIFE OF CHRIST POSSESSED BY US he says, “ know we no man after the flesh.” It is in this light of resurrection that he says, “If any man be in Christ he is a new creation : old things
If the Head is risen, the members, which possess have passed away ; behold, all things are become its life, must rise. “For if we believe that Jesus
“ new.” Even Christ Himself, Paul would contem- died and rose again, even so them also which sleep plate and know in His resurrection glory. “ Yea, in Jesus will God bring with Him" (1 Thess. iv. 14).
” though we have known Christ after the flesh,” he To deny this truth is to deny Christianity. “For says, " yet now, henceforth, know we Him (so) no if the dead rise not,” argues the Apostle," then is “
" more” (2 Cor. v. 16, 17). (
not Christ raised. . : But now is Christ risen from THE POWER OF CHRIST'S RESURRECTION IS PRESENT the dead, and become the first-fruits of them that
slept. For since by man came death, by man came In Romans vi., Paul answers the carnal sugges- also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam tion, “Let us continue in sin that grace may all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. abound,” with the strong deprecation, “ God forbid. But every man in his own order ; Christ the firstHow shall we that are dead to sin live any longer fruits; afterwards they that are Christ's at His
IS THE PLEDGE OF OUR RESURRECTION AT INIS